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Smollett Indicted in Illinois

Jussie Smollett has been charged in Chicago with a felony for allegedly falsely reporting a hate crime.

From the article, it appears the prosecutors called brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo as witnesses before the grand jury this evening.

The men had reportedly told investigators that Mr. Smollett had coordinated a faux attack and paid them to participate in it.

Filing a false report in Illinois can be a misdemeanor or felony. The Grand Jury indicted Smollett for the felony version, which carries up to 3 years in prison.

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Defense Gives Closing in "El Chapo" Trial

The Government gave an all day closing argument yesterday in the trial of el Chapo. Shorter version: We're not asking you to like our 13 dirty snitches, most of whom will get visas to stay in the U.S. permanently, we're asking you to presume they are telling the truth and find El Chapo guilty.

Jeffrey Lichtman, the most bombastic of El Chapo's lawyers, is giving the defense closing. Three themes:

1. Where is Mayo, why isn't he here? While Chapo was being "hunted like an animal," El Mayo was "sitting on his ass, sunning himself, smoking a cigar."

2. Would you want to be put away based on the testimony of 14 lying, thieving snitches, some of whom are admitted murderers and all of whom are being paid for their testimony with promises of leniency for their own misdeeds?

3. It's the corruption. "He's paying everybody from the local beat cops up to the president." Mayo's sons get sweetheart deals, Mayo stays free, and the universe falls on El Chapo to take the blame. [More...]

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Roger Stone Indicted by Mueller

Roger Stone has been indicted by Team Mueller. The Indictment is here. The Washington Post reports (no link due to auto-play video)

With Stone’s indictment, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has struck deep inside Trump’s inner circle, charging a long-standing friend of the president. The court filing charges Stone sought to gather information about hacked emails at the direction of an unidentified senior Trump campaign official, and then engaged in extensive efforts to keep secret the details of those efforts.

Stone's reaction: He's innocent, he'll never plead guilty or make up stories to help authorities get Donald Trump.

“There is no circumstance whatsoever under which I will bear false witness against the president nor will I make up lies to ease the pressure on myself. I look forward to being fully and completely vindicated,” Stone said. “I will not testify against the president because I would have to bear false witness.”

Who's who in the Indictment?

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How to Avoid the Goof Made by Manafort's Lawyers

I've seen two versions of the "unredacted" version of the response filed by Paul Manafort's lawyers. In this version provided by the Associated Press (and opened in Adobe Acrobat) it's clear the redaction failed and whoever did the final proofread should have seen it.

In this version provided by the Daily Beast, also opened in Adobe Acrobat (on a PC), the document appears to be redacted so it might not have been apparent to whoever did the final proof-read. Once open, if you choose the select tool and highlight the blackened parts, then right click and press copy, and then paste in into Microsoft Word, the unredacted text appears. (I have no idea if a Mac works the same way as I don't use my Mac for work, only for music and videos. And I never open PDF's in a browser like Chrome or Firefox, only Adobe Acrobat DC Pro which I assume most law firms use). (It's the same in Adobe X which while outdated, I still use on some laptops and actually prefer.)

VICE presents ways to avoid the cut and paste trick, including making a scanned copy or taking a screenshot. That's problematic for some federal courts, including those in Colorado. [More...]

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The Case Against Natalya Veselnitskaya

Russian lawyer Natalya Veselnitskaya has been indicted in New York and charged with obstruction of justice pertaining to a declaration she filed under penalty of perjury in a civil case between her clients (Prevezon Holdings and its chief officer, Denis Katsyv) and the Government. (She was not counsel of record -- she was hired to assist their U.S. counsel in the case. In doing so, she provided sworn declarations for the lawyers to file in support of various pleadings in the civil case.)

The Indictment is here. Veselnitskaya's Declaration that is the subject of the Indictment is here. In it she provides her working history and credentials. The Russian Prosecutor's report (referred to as the MlAT Response) is here. The letter from Russia to Veselnitskaya referred to in the Indictment is here. (I obtained these via PACER).

Vox does a good job of explaining the long and convoluted history of the civil case. It also states that while the Indictment doesn't relate to the infamous Trump Tower meeting Donald Trump Jr. presided over during his father's campaign, it does provide context for the meeting. [More...]

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Hector Beltran-Leyva Dies After Heart Attack in Prison

Arturo, Hector, Alfredo and Carlos Beltran-Leyva

Imprisoned cartel leader Hector Beltran-Levya has died of a heart attack at 56.

Hector Beltran-Leyva was arrested in 2014. Since 2016, he has been imprisoned at Altiplano. He faced a lot of charges in Mexico and two Indictments in the U.S. Here is the Mexican Government's official announcement.

The incident took place at about 15:07, when the chief of prison security reported Beltran Leyva had severe pain in the left chest, so immediately the federal center doctors gave him first aid under the protocols.

When he did not recover, the prison moved him to the Adolfo Lopez Mateos Hospital in Toluca where he died after receiving treatment in the emergency room. [More...]

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Bill Cosby: Sentenced and Jailed

Bill Cosby has been sentenced to 3 to 10 years in prison. He was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs.

Cosby, now 81 and legally blind, must serve 3 years before becoming eligible for parole. His lawyers had asked for house arrest due to his age, blindness and vulnerability in prison.

After hearing testimony from a psychologist today, the Judge declared him a "sexually violent predator".

The judge ruled on Cosby’s “sexually violent predator” status after a psychologist for the state testified that the entertainer appears to have a mental disorder that gives him an uncontrollable urge to have sex with women without their consent.

...Cosby faced a sentence of anywhere from probation to 10 years in prison.... Prosecutors asked for five to 10 years behind bars, saying he could still pose a threat to women.


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Manafort's D.C. Guilty Plea

Bump and Update 9/15/18: I have uploaded Paul Manafort's plea agreement here. It's 1.2 MB, so give it a minute to load. Same for the Statement of Facts in support of the Plea (1.4 MB) which I've uploaded here.

****Original Post 9/14/18*****

Paul Manafort is pleading guilty this morning in D.C. to two charges in an information which will also resolve the conduct in the counts in Virginia that the jury couldn't reach a verdict on.

It's going to cost him.

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Michael Cohen Pleads Gulity to 8 Charges

Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to 8 charges today in New York.

The Information (charges against him) is here. More interesting is his plea agreement which is available here. [More...]

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Manafort Guilty on 8 Counts

Update: 8/21/18: The jury in the Paul Manafort trial returned guilty verdicts on 8 of 18 counts. The judge declared a mistrial on the other counts.

Original Post, 8/16/18, Manifort Jury Deliberating: The jury is out in the Paul Manafort trial. His charges:

  • willfully subscribing and filing false income tax returns (Counts 1 through 5),
  • willfully failing to file foreign bank account
    reports (“FBARs”) (Counts 11 through 14),
  • bank fraud (Counts 25 through 27, 30 and 32),
  • bank fraud conspiracy (Counts 24, 28, 29, and 31)

It's interesting to see all the media articles with photos of Manafort and counsel arriving at the courthouse and Manafort and his wife leaving the courthouse. The photos are all from prior court appearances. Manafort is detained during trial, his bond having been revoked in June. There are no photos of him coming to or leaving the courthouse during the trial. [More...]

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Manafort Trial: Judge Keeps the Reins Tight

The judge in the Paul Manafort trial is keeping a tight reign on the prosecution. According to Fox News, the judge told Team Mueller today they would not be able to prove conspiracy without calling Rick Gates. Prosecutors began floating the idea yesterday Gates might not testify.

Manafort's defense seems to be that Gates did all the bad stuff.

Manafort is being tried in the Eastern District of Virginia. He is charged with tax and bank fraud crimes. From a brief the Government filed today (Doc. 193): [More...]

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Trump Pardons Scooter Libby

President Bush granted Scooter Libby clemency so he didn't have to go to prison. Today, Donald Trump granted him a pardon.

Trump sounds like he knows nothing about the Scooter Libby case.

“I don’t know Mr. Libby,” Trump said in a White House statement, “but for years I have heard that he has been treated unfairly. Hopefully, this full pardon will help rectify a very sad portion of his life.”

He's deciding pardons based on what he hears? Has he read any of the case filings, read the trial transcripts? I attended the trial as credentialed media and I didn't think he was treated unfairly. How is this a "very sad" situation? Because he has a felony conviction and can't practice law? When was the last time he practiced law?

Trump is sending a message to Republicans. What is it? [more...]

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Testimony Begins in Bill Cosby Retrial

Bill Cosby, 80 and legally blind, is being retried for drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand. The defense, led by Tom Mesereau, presented its opening argument today, calling Constand a con artist who was out for money.

“Andrea Constand was 30 years old” when she met Cosby, defense attorney Tom Mesereau said in a 50-minute opening argument. “Mr. Cosby was in his 60s. She said she was not attracted to him. She said, ‘He’s older than my father.’ But she was madly in love with his fame and money.”

...“She knew exactly what she was doing and, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, she’s now a multimillionaire because she pulled it off,” he said. “She’s a con artist. Well prove it.”

The defense team has 7 members who are exasperating the Judge with all their motions. [More...]

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NY Times Obtains Surveillance Camera Videos for LV Shooter

The New York Times has obtained new surveillance camera videos of Stephen Paddock's last days at the Mandalay Bay before carrying out the Las Vegas shootings.

The videos add nothing to deciphering Paddock's motives. He acts normal, his interactions with staff are normal, even when he's alone in the elevator the cameras don't capture anything odd.

The Times labels the videos:

"unnerving because it ends in the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.

That may be, but they are not the deadliest mass killings in modern American history. More than 3,000 people died in the 9/11 attacks. As for domestic killings, more than 168 people died in the OKC bombing and more than 500 were injured.

Congress could disregard the Second Amendment entirely and outlaw the possession and purchase of all guns and rifles and we'd be no safer. Bombs can kill more people than guns. [More...]

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Paddock's Estranged Brother Bruce Arrested in LA on Unrelated Matter

Stephen Paddock's estranged brother (not the one who talked to the press and went to Las Vegas to be interviewed)is in custody on a child p*rn allegation.

Bruce Paddock, 58, was detained at a Los Angeles assisted-living facility, where he was awaiting surgery for spinal stenosis. He had not yet been booked, and no other details were available.

An attorney who Paddock said had represented him in criminal matters in the past told NBC News he is no longer representing Paddock and declined comment.

Bruce had not been in contact with Stephen in 10 years, so I don't see how this is relevant to the Las Vegas shootings, any more than his father's past as a bank robber.

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